The OU-Texas game has had plenty of memorable plays and moments in its history. With the game just a day away, we asked our writers to reflect on their favorite moments in the series. Here they are:
A.D. Runs All Day, 2004: Everyone knew Adrian Peterson was something special; the week of the game, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. But I’m not sure anyone was prepared for what the true freshman running back did against Texas.
He ran for 225 yards. Video game numbers. It was a ridiculous — in a good way — display against a darn good Texas defense. His first run of the day? 44 yards. He was the best player on the field, and it wasn’t really close. He was on the field, by the way, with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Jason White; an eventual Thorpe Award winner, Michael Huff; and several dozen future NFL players.
A new perspective, 2005: Growing up five minutes south of Norman in a family full of Sooners, it would’ve been impossible to avoid OU football fever throughout my young life. I cover OU football now — and haven’t considered myself an OU fan in several years — but I definitely attended lots of Red River Rivalry games as a kid.
When I was a freshman in college, a friend and I drove to Dallas without tickets. My friend’s dad had a buddy that would hook us up with some tickets outside the stadium, though, so we figured we’d be all set, despite the fact that it was a game we were certain the Sooners couldn’t win. The Longhorns had Vince Young, and OU had already lost two games at that point in the season.
Still, we wanted to be inside the Cotton Bowl. So we got our tickets about 30 minutes before kickoff and began looking for our gate, only to discover that we’d been purchased seats on the North end — on the Texas side.
My friend and I were certain we’d be treated horribly, but within minutes of sitting down, we discovered the exact opposite was true. The Texas fans around us couldn’t have been nicer.
After one of the Longhorns’ many touchdowns that day, the Texas band began playing its fight song. When it reached the point where the crowd shouts, “O-U sucks!” the little old lady sitting to my right tapped me on the shoulder.
“Sweetheart, I just want you to know that I don’t say ‘OU sucks,’” she sweetly told me. “I don’t think that’s very nice.”
A little perspective is always important, and I got a heavy dose of it that Saturday in Dallas, where I had one of the most memorable and enjoyable college football experiences of my life.
Superman, 2001: This was my third Red River game to witness in person, after Texas’ 1999 comeback win and the 2000 blowout in favor of the Sooners. But this play, with OU leading 7-3 with about two minutes remaining, stands out as the most jaw-dropping play I’ve ever covered in any game (Although Callie Slate’s 3-pointer that gave Pocola the 2A girls state basketball title in 2008 gives it a run for its money).
The leap that Roy Williams made to get to Chris Simms was out of this world and the ball went right to Teddy Lehman — a player I’d covered when he was in high school in Fort Gibson when I worked in Muskogee. As a writer, I generally root for two things: deadline-friendly games and good storylines. The daytime start guaranteed the first part. Williams and Lehman came through big on the second.
Growing up in Phoenix, I remember seeing the divided Cotton Bowl on TV each year and watching bits and pieces of OU-Texas as I flipped through that afternoon’s games. But I don’t have a specific memory that really stands out.
Two years ago, however, I was watching the game at Joseppi’s in Stillwater with the crew that was covering OSU’s game that day, and the reactions of the OSU fans also in the restaurant were fascinating to witness. At that point in the season, both OU and OSU were national contenders, and both needed the other school to be as good as possible to boost their strength of schedule. So lots of folks in orange were wincing as they cheered for the Sooners.
With the Cowboys off this week, I will be making the trip down I-35 to take in this year’s game. It will be my first college football game as a spectator since 2010, and I’m looking forward to checking the event off my bucket list. Bring on the friend food, too.
Dupree Goes Deep, 1982: The most memorable play in OU-Texas to me came in 1982. Marcus Dupree’s first home run. That year, when he was a true freshman, Dupree would go on to produce cross-country touchdowns virtually week. But Barry Switzer brought along Dupree slowly, and the Sooners went to Dallas already with two losses, to West Virginia and Southern Cal. The USC game was a 12-0 loss, so the OU offense was in disarray. Switzer had switched to the I formation the week before, and we saw the benefits late in the first quarter in the Cotton Bowl.
Moments after Texas had tried a fake reverse that went nowhere, the Sooners did the same. Except this one went somewhere. Quarterback Kelly Phelps took a snap, turned and pitched the ball to Dupree, who ran around right end and faked a handoff to reversing split end Steve Sewell. Dupree juked a couple of Longhorns and was off on a 67-yard touchdown run. The Sooners went on to win 28-22. The play was symbolic of the wrinkles OU coaches have sprung on Texas for decades, as well as the coming attraction of Dupree.